Building a Game Development Program

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Building a Game Development Program Lawrence Argent, Bill Depper, Rafael Fajardo, Sarah Gjertson, Scott T. Leutenegger, Mario A. Lopez, and Jeff Rutenbeck University of Denver

In 2004, the University of Denver began offering majors in game development, with research and scholarship directed toward “humane gaming,”a term that includes medical and educational game applications and socially conscious gaming.


t the University of Denver (DU), we believe game development is an interdisciplinary field requiring some appreciation for both the technical and creative, with a deep passion in at least one area. Our two new game development majors are built upon a four-way partnership between computer science, digital media studies, electronic media arts design, and studio art. We created our program with the following goals in mind: • Developing a humane emphasis. We have coined the phrase “humane gaming” to describe our efforts to direct this new academic discipline into benevolent applications. As an intended side effect, we conjecture that this emphasis will help to attract women to the computer/videogames development field. • Fostering “whole brain education.” By this we mean developing students’ abilities in both analytical and creative thinking. We believe that many students have both types of skills without knowing it. Further, we believe that exercising both abilities results in deeper understanding and intuition than is possible with only one type of thinking. • Increasing enrollments in computer science and developing a technically strong major. • Allowing student interest driven balancing between computer science, digital media, electronic art, and studio art.




Achieving our program’s goals requires strong collaboration and an interdisciplinary approach.

Computer science

The DU Computer Science Department administers our new game development major. The department offers BS/BA, MS, and PhD degrees in computer science. Our undergraduate computer science BS degree follows a model similar to the ACM guidelines. Therefore, the department already offers most of the technical classes needed for the game development degree, including introductory programming, discrete mathematics, algorithms and data structures, computer organization, operating systems, and graphics, as well as elective topics such as multimedia, computational geometry, networks, databases, software engineering, distributed systems, theory of computation, and security. Computer science forms the fundamental core of our degree program. Our intent is to produce graduates who are ready for the technical side of game development as well as many other careers within computing and information technology. Students who choose our BA and double major in Art/Electronic Media Arts Design/Digital Media Studies might follow career paths that are not specifically on the technical side, but they will leave our program with a deep understanding of the technical side of computer science and game programming.

Published by the IEEE Computer Society

0018-9162/06/$20.00 © 2006 IEEE

practices, the DMS experience also prepares game develFounded in 1996 as a partnership between the School opers for the complex creative and development culture of Communication, the School of Art, and the they are likely to encounter in the workplace. Department of Computer Science, the DU Digital Media Studies program forms the basis of content development Studio Art and Electronic Media Arts Design for the game development program. With its wide range DU’s School of Art and Art History is committed to of offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels, teaching the technical and creative processes of art, methDMS involves students in a design-technical-critical ods of analyzing and criticizing visual culture, and the approach to digital media. diverse history of art. Students are The design curriculum within educated to think critically, engage The DMS experience prepares in the art-making process, express DMS, which is a shared curriculum with the Electronic Media Arts themselves creatively, and articulate game developers for Design (EMAD) program, lets stutheir ideas clearly. The School of Art the complex creative and dents explore the many aspects of and Art History offers three primary development culture communicating visual messages domains of study: Studio Art (SA), through courses such as Introduction Art History, and the EMAD prothey are likely to encounter to EMAD, Net Art and Design, gram. All students in the SA and in the workplace. Interactive Art and Design, Identity EMAD domains take the Core Art and Branding, Typography, and and Media Program (CAMP), a Designing Social Awareness. All common introductory sequence. DMS students are required to complete the first two segStudio Art. In the SA program, students select from a ments of the art foundation experience, then they pur- range of studio courses: ceramics, drawing, painting, phosue additional study in digital design—a minimum of tography, printmaking, and sculpture. Students with mulfour design courses. tiple interests who want a liberal arts education with a The technical portion of the DMS curriculum corre- major in art and a second major or minor in another field sponds with five general production areas of digital usually complete the program for a BA degree. Students media: Web/Internet, interactive media/games, digital who intend to become professional artists or art teachers video production, digital audio production, and 3D or who want a more thorough art training usually commodeling and animation. Courses in the video, audio, plete the program for a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree. and modeling/animation areas expose students to a wide The BA in SA combines CAMP, art history, and SA range of hardware and software techniques such as classes, resulting in a total of at least 60 art credits. The video/audio acquisition, editing, and character anima- BFA in SA combines CAMP, art history, SA, and EMAD, tion. Advanced courses in the Web/Internet and the resulting in a total of at least 110 art credits. Admission interactive media/games areas combine similar hardware into the BFA program requires portfolio approval. Due and software instruction with extensive work in pro- to the intensive art requirements of the BFA, it would gramming for digital media—for example, Web appli- be impossible to double major with game development cations, rich Internet applications, personal media, and in four years, and we expect few students to pursue 2D game development. this option. The critical DMS curriculum examines the broader Electronic Media Arts Design. The EMAD program implications of digitization, especially regarding com- produces self-motivated artists with strengths in creative puter-mediated communication, social networking, pri- vision, design principles, the use of computers and vacy, digital media ethics, globalization, impact on design software, concept development, critical thinking, traditional media, social impacts of digital media, futur- and a commitment to communicating visual messages ism, and so on. All DMS students are required to take a capable of reshaping the world through innovative artisfoundation course in critical approaches to digital media tic design. The program provides a background for stustudies, then they pursue advanced critical coursework dents who want to enter the design profession or who in more specific topics. are interested in pursuing an independent career as In a general sense, the design-technical-critical exhibiting electronic media artists. approach forms a strong complement to the game develEMAD courses emphasize the interrelationships opment degree programs. While the game development between humans and computation. The electronic curriculum focuses on the technical theory and skills design curriculum is biased toward the pragmatic conneeded to program the intelligence, performance, and cerns of communication, while electronic arts curricula interactivity of games, the DMS program incorporates tend toward the more exploratory, addressing “what if” content development skills and sensibilities into the questions. The design component is a way of thinking process. As a well-balanced cross-disciplinary program that employs the iterative methodology of refinement, that exposes students to a wide range of professional an important aspect of how games are created.

Digital Media Studies

June 2006


This content-focused education develops thoughtful game makers who will benefit the industry and society. EMAD is in an interesting position to bring to fruition these lurking skills and abilities.


The bachelor of arts degree has the following requirements: • 44 credits (11 classes) in computer science; of these, nine classes are required: introduction to computer science I, II, and III; discrete structures; game programming I and II; graphics I; and senior project/portfolio; • 4 credits (1 class) in digital media studies (animation); • 8 credits (2 classes) in mathematics; • 60 credits (15 classes) double major in DMS, EMAD, or SA; and • 68 credits (17 classes) in general university foundations.

Our experience with college freshmen is that many incoming students are unsure about their intended major and often change majors within the first year or two. Our program is set up to allow students to experiment and find the path that best fits their interests. Students typically take four classes per quarter, and incoming freshmen usually choose first-year English and a foreign language as two of those classes, thus leaving two courses per quarter for our major. On the technical side, the major Incoming students who indicate difference between the BS and BA is As time progresses, they are more interested in the techthat the BS requires computer orgastudents naturally nical side are encouraged to take the nization and operating systems find their balance and introductory programming sequence whereas the BA does not, and the BS and calculus, deferring art to the secrequires five mathematics classes self-select between the ond year. If students decide they want whereas the BA only requires two. BA and BS degree options. to pursue our BA, we recommend the The other major difference between introductory programming sequence the two degrees is that the BA and the introductory art sequence, requires significantly more emphasis deferring calculus to the second year. Either approach on DMS, EMAD, or SA. allows students to be on track for either the BA or the BS. As time progresses, students naturally find their bal- COMPUTER SCIENCE TECHNICAL CURRICULA ance and self-select between the two degree options. Most required computer science classes follow forWithin the BA option, students need to select a double mats and topics found in computer science departments major that best suits their interest: DMS, EMAD, or SA. nationwide. Hence, we only discuss those courses in our We expect some students will find that computer science curriculum that are more directly related to games. Our is not for them, drop the game development major, and program assumes that students take the introductory move into DMS, EMAD, SA, or some other major. We sequence, algorithms and data structures, and then game also expect that some students will decide to switch into programming I, graphics I, game programming II, and our computer science major. then the senior project, in that order.

Game development degree requirements

The University of Denver operates on a quarter system with most classes being four credits. One four-credit class on our system is roughly equivalent to a threecredit class on the semester system. The bachelor of science degree has the following requirements: • 48 credits (12 classes) in computer science; of these, 11 classes are required: computer science introduction I, II, and III; discrete structures; computer organization; operating systems; game programming I and II; graphics I; and senior project/portfolio; • 20 credits (5 classes) in mathematics; • 20 credits (5 classes) to serve as “cognate” in DMS, EMAD, or SA; • 6 credits (14 classes) in general university foundations; and • 39 elective credits. 54


Introductory curriculum

We have begun modifying our freshman sequence to better serve and retain incoming majors. Prior to this year, many students viewed our introductory sequence as abstract and boring and hence too difficult. The sequence consisted of three classes in which the first two focused on introductory programming using C++ and the third covered the standard template library and object-oriented programming. The effect was to lose majors during the first year. Some instructors feel the “sink or swim” attitude toward new majors is appropriate as it weeds out those who do not belong in CS. On the contrary, we believe that many students capable of finding rewarding computer science and related careers are unnecessarily discouraged and that a new approach is needed. The challenge is how to do this and still retain the same competency standards. After much discussion and planning, we are trying a new freshman sequence this year in which the first class

uses 2D game programming in flash/ActionScript to damental algorithms (scan conversion, clipping, hidden teach introductory programming. The creation of games surface removal, and so on), polygonal meshes, shadprovides concrete examples, thus addressing concerns ing and illumination models, and various human-comabout abstract content. Because the elementary puter interface issues. ActionScript 2.0 language is almost identical to C++, learned knowledge is directly transferable to C++. The Game Programming II second course switches to a more traditional C++ This class teaches the fundamental algorithms and data approach. We anticipate that prefacing the class with structures used in the graphical and physics portions of concrete examples will ease the jump to abstraction. a game engine. It assumes that the student is familiar The third-quarter class is again concrete in that students with basic graphics and at least one game engine. Topics work in teams in a project-based learning environment in covered include texturing, scene representation, updatwhich they develop a multistep tool that is graphical in ing and rendering, levels of detail, terrain representation some aspect. One example is to create a miniature flash- and generation, collision detection, and physics-based like drawing and animation tool using C++ and 2D behavior and modeling. openGL. In this class, students also learn UML, testing, programming Senior project/Portfolio using an API (openGL), and the conThe senior project is intended to For a student planning to cepts of tool building. The underlying serve as a capstone class as well as pursue a digital art career, a goal of the third quarter is to solidify help students prepare a portfolio. In firm foundation in studio art programming skills so that students this two-quarter sequence, students are ready for data structures at the will work in teams of four to six to is just as important beginning of their sophomore year. develop games including visual asset as specific digital tools. The first- and third-quarter courses creation, sound, and coding. Teams have strong visual aspects, thus makwill pitch the idea to faculty, provide ing them more engaging and helping design documents, and manage students see the effect of abstract code. Our first exper- themselves to meet agreed-upon milestones. During this iment with using flash/ActionScript resulted in feedback time, students will also work with faculty to assemble a indicating that most students felt seeing objects move portfolio demonstrating breadth as well as depth in one on the screen in response to their code made learning or more areas of interest to the student. the language much easier. All three quarters use pair programming, which has been shown to be helpful in retain- STUDIO ART CURRICULA ing women in computer science.1 Both traditional Studio art plays a fundamental role in game developcomputer science majors and game development majors ment. For a student planning to pursue a digital art are taking this sequence together. career, a firm foundation in studio art is just as important as specific digital tools. Our SA program provides Game Programming I courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printThis first course in 3D game design uses a game making, and photography. engine, currently Torque, and scripting to provide students an overall game-creation experience. Topics Introductory art sequence include visual asset creation (3D modeling in Blender, Just as game development is an interdisciplinary field, Milkshape, Max, Maya, or Rhino), texturing, asset so are the visual arts. To prepare students by giving them importing and placement, programming interactivity, a broader articulation perspective, the CAMP program, score keeping, levels, terrain generation, and physics and a new freshmen sequence, was created this year with particles. This includes understanding the game engine several primary intentions: software architecture and object model in sufficient detail to use it effectively. Students work in teams to cre• provide a unique one-year art foundation experience ate a final game using the engine. Game Programming II and peer community, covers how parts of an engine are implemented. • encourage a marriage of technical and conceptual skill building, Graphics I • emphasize a more connected or interdisciplinary Taken by both CS and non-CS majors, including stuapproach to materials and design basics, and dents from traditional degrees such as engineering and • enable students to identify their own strengths and physics, this class is a general introduction to computer trajectory upon completing the program. graphics. Topics covered include graphics hardware, graphics APIs, mathematics for computer graphics, Most art programs at the college level provide a founviewing transformations, windows and viewports, fun- dations sequence, many of which follow a model of 2D June 2006


design, 3D design, and drawing. CAMP is similar with Drawing and studio art respect to covering these basics, but differs in format and A complex and multilayered activity combining visual, the inclusion of digital media. Rather than separating 2D cognitive, and handicraft skills, drawing is a fundafrom 3D and so on, CAMP aims to integrate these areas mental skill in the arts. In simple terms, drawing teaches and increase the level of complexity as students move students to represent what they see to others. through the program—beginning with design basics and Representational drawing requires students to perform progressing to cultivate visual perceptions and analysis. cognitive translations from observed 3D reality onto 2D Students rotate through the segments and have contact surfaces in real time. This high-speed decision-making is with different faculty in each segment. guided by aesthetic judgment, with the goal of creating Contemporary art practice and pedagogy rarely fall a pleasing visual composition. into strict categories—for example, drawing is no longer Drawing’s importance to game development is manijust graphite on paper. The program design seeks to fold. Drawing is an imperative skill for communicating break down media boundaries and expose students to visual ideas to others. The observational skills necessary multiple possibilities. In CAMP I, for example, particu- to render illusions of reality are first acquired and interlar attention is given to the connections between seg- nalized through drawing. Loose drawings—sketches — ments so a student understands a volume as a 2D, 3D, are the method for rapid prototyping (RP) visual ideas and digital entity. for character design, settings, and This reinforcement of art elements point of view. Storyboarding comCreating environments, and vocabulary continues throughprises sequences of drawings that out each segment, along with an detail visual changes over time. characters, and simulated effort to deny any preferential Verisimilitude is the current highest real-world objects is part approach. No segment is given any standard of representation in games. of the plethora of tools more or less importance than the others, and students are expected to Physical/virtual sculpture essential to the approach each segment with vigor, Sculpture offers a unique opportugame design student. regardless of their previous experinity to tie together the virtual with the ence with that media. physical in a game development proIn addition, students are encourgram. As humans grow and develop, aged to apply a problem-solving approach while being they learn to use and depend on the sense of touch to gain exposed to this variety of media, and they are expected knowledge and understanding of the world. This tactile to develop a vocabulary to use in making and discussing relationship to the real world is essential to the formative various forms of visual communication. This is essen- comprehension of the physical. tial, given that freshmen students enter the School of Art Creating environments, characters, and simulated and Art History with different and uneven backgrounds real-world objects is part of the plethora of tools essenin art from their high school education. At its most sim- tial to the game design student. While these are generplistic, CAMP levels the playing field and brings all stu- ally created in the virtual environment using modeling dents to a more informed and even position. and rendering software packages, a fundamental comCAMP strives to create a culture that empowers stu- ponent is sometimes absent from a real-world associadents and gives them basic yet varied technical and con- tive experience. The fact that this information is bound ceptual tools rather than a series of unrelated to a visual on a screen is in some way its own limitation prerequisite courses. The CAMP faculty also stresses for creative intervention. personal investment, exploration, and risk taking as stuThe most direct, natural way we have for underdents move through the program. Ultimately, students standing virtual reality is first to transform it into the build a greater sense of self-awareness, increased agency real physical object. Students can use RP equipment as content makers, and a more flexible approach to art to achieve this. They can send computer-aided design media that empowers them to self-select their potential image files to an RP machine, which creates physical areas of interest such as painting, sculpture, digital models directly from digital data in hours. The observer media, and so on. can physically touch and manipulate these 3D representations, which convey information not obtainable General studio art classes from 2D projections. Studio art teaching methods have been refined over Students can use a variety of means available in industhe course of centuries to encourage and reward both try today to generate the CAD design files. They can crecreative and critical thinking as well as visual refinement. ate 3D objects within the computer with modeling These skills are transferable to all aspects of videogame software or, alternatively, they can sculpt the objects by production beyond the obvious needs of visual asset hand and then scan them using 3D laser technology. creation. Once in the digital realm, the designers can easily alter 56


or collage these files within the computer, permitting another avenue of creative intervention, and then send them to an RP machine for final output and analysis. Whether a student is working on a project for a sculpture class or a game development class, creating prototypes and conceptual models is essential for exploring physical relationships. Having the ability to move between these physical and virtual options provides a unique learning environment that lets students further their knowledge of the real world through abstractions.

Introductory course.The introductory course provides a brief look at the techniques and processes involved with each of these key disciplines. The modeling section of the course introduces polygonal modeling, spline-based approaches, and subdivision surfaces. Students progress to work with surfaces and textures on their objects. The course explores both algorithmic and bitmap textures as well as complex layered surfacing techniques. Virtual lighting and rendering methods are discussed and employed in the class projects, and the basics of global illumination are examined. GAME DESIGN AND ANIMATION CURRICULA The final portion of the class is devoted to simple aniWe have taught seminar game design classes and are mation principles, including keyframing and inbetweennow in the process of articulating a studio class in a lec- ing, as well as a brief introduction to character animation ture and lab format. The objective will be to give students principles such as squash and stretch, slow in and out, and a framework within which to create and upon which to overlapping action. Students are introduced to a variety of experiment and expand. We have seen processes for creating an animation. some success with using obscure nonLater classes emphasize and build The animation and modeling western board games to draw attenupon the production workflow of tion to the structures of rules that planning, blocking, and polishing. sequence is aimed at giving comprise game play. We look to texts Character animation. The charstudents grounding in the by Chris Crawford2 and by Katie acter animation class is primarily foundations of 3D modeling, Salen and Eric Zimmerman3 for their concerned with the 12 fundamental lucid explanations of design princicharacter animation principles that surfacing, rendering, ples. We are also on the lookout for originated with the Golden Age and animation. other authors who might have conDisney animators.4 The students trasting views. work on a variety of projects and The field has so many opportuniexercises to build a firm working ties that we don’t want to stifle students by conveying a knowledge of these principles. Projects cover secondary rigid message that says, “This is the right way to design actions related to moving holds, walk cycles, and basic a game.” We focus on using modest technologies to com- acting as it applies to animated characters. plete modest games in the time available during class. The course employs preexisting characters of increasWe are in the process of adopting and adapting the CMU ing complexity and sophistication as well as student-creEntertainment Technology Center approach of design- ated characters. In addition to focusing upon the ing and building small prototypes of numerous games animation principles, the course introduces the basics in a short period. of rigging and skinning characters. These technical direcIt is tempting to create courses explicitly in humane- tion skills support a level of self-sufficiency that is capgame design, but doing so limits the broader space of italized upon in the final course. games and how humane concerns fit in. Our current Film production.The final course in the sequence conapproach is to suffuse the humane focus into the cur- centrates on the preproduction and production of a riculum in a natural way through the teaching and inter- short animated piece. Topics covered in the film proaction with faculty, all of whom embrace the humane- duction class include story development, cinematogragame model. phy, and acting choices. Some time is also spent on using particle and dynamics systems for effects. Animation and modeling The class allows students to work in small groups The third animation and modeling sequence consists to produce a finished piece of animation that demonof three courses, Introduction to 3D Modeling and strates their skills and capabilities. The class begins with Animation, Character Animation Principles, and Short story development, brainstorming, and storyboarding Animated Film Production, which are taught through of their ideas. These ideas are polished, and more the DMS program. The sequence is aimed at giving stu- detailed planning is used to create a clear plan of action dents grounding in the foundations of 3D modeling, sur- for the animation. facing, rendering, and animation. As the sequence The students use their plans and storyboards to create progresses, students work on more complex animations animatics to further develop their framing, timing, and that are informed by the various principles of traditional layout skills. They convert these animatics into 3D layanimation and culminate in the production of a short outs that provide a foundation for the finished animaanimated film. tion. The students spend the majority of the class June 2006


creating models and rigging and animating characters for the finished animation.

ties in with traditional computer science, digital media, and art, most realized this truly is an academic subject. IMPORTANT PROGRAM CHOICES • Ignorance of the potential of games. Again, many Creating a new program provides opportunities for adults seem to think of games as merely a diversion setting direction but also requires some important and for children, one that interferes with what they should sometimes difficult choices. Two key choices were made be doing. Although this claim may sometimes be true, while creating this program: such objections misdirect the focus from the many current and upcoming applications of games that • Establishing a humane-gaming focus. To attract more make this such an important field. Many people are students, the temptation is to just give students what also surprised to hear that the entertainment game they want. Many males, arguably the major recruitindustry is now as big a business as Hollywood. ing target for game programs, play adventure and • Concerns about reputation. Recent negative press first-person shooter games. Students hope to make about the sexual and violence content of games seems games in a genre they love. to have fueled the concern about repHumane games may not be the utation. People questioned whether first choice of some of our stua university wants to be associated Any person working dents, yet we feel it is important with games. Once educated about in the game field to expose them to this area. We trends such as the fact that 93 perneeds some appreciation believe this exposure will result in cent of games are rated “teen” or better game programmers and “everyone,” and once we explained of art, in particular designers within first-person and our humane-games focus, various the critique process. adventure games as well as proapproval committees became less moting new game applications reluctant to support the program. and genres. • Requiring technical students to take art. We require The following are ongoing obstacles in program all game development majors to take at least five SA, building: EMAD, or DMS classes including at least the first two SA foundation classes. This is perhaps our most con• Parents. Many parents seem to share the view that troversial requirement. Game development requires game development is not an academic subject. We artists working with programmers. We feel that any have met with dozens of parents who have relucperson working in the game field needs some appretantly come with their child to visit our university. ciation of art, in particular the critique process. This They seem to be resigned to the visit only because it appreciation will help them to better understand and is what their child wants to do. Once they undercommunicate with their artist coworkers. We also stand the program, most parents become as excited believe in whole-brain education and hope that many as their children. The challenge here is to reach out of our students will find they have abilities in the creto these parents and educate them about the potenative side as well as the technical and will either choose tial and academic merit of game development. the BA double major or at least choose some addiPerhaps this parental education will follow autotional art electives. matically as the field matures and more institutions create game-related programs. OBSTACLES IN CREATING A GAME • Normal academic barriers to collaboration such as DEVELOPMENT DEGREE budgets, tuition flow, and joint hiring. At many uniGetting a new major approved at a university can be versities, art and computer science are not housed a political minefield, especially when that major has the within the same academic division, thus adding to the word games in the title. The following were obstacles in obstacles. We are overcoming these obstacles at our getting approval of the new major: institution, but they will likely be a concern for any school wishing to develop a new collaborative pro• Perception that this is not an academic subject. gram such as ours. Many people initially balked at the idea of a major in creating games, mistakenly thinking it was just a PROGRAM GOALS AND HUMANE GAMING trade-school-type education. They did not underOne of the goals when creating our program was to stand the depth of computer science, physics, design, rebuild the number of undergraduate computer science and art knowledge needed in this field. Once the majors at DU. Our first cohort of game development required knowledge was explained to the various students started in fall 2005 with 10 incoming majors. approval committees, emphasizing how this focus During fall 2005 and the first two months of 2006, we 58


met with more than 40 students who came to tour the campus and discuss our new game development major. Based on historic computer science yields from this type of student visit, we expect 30 new game development majors in fall 2006. DU is a relatively small school that enrolls about 4,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 graduate students. Thus, this increase in game development majors is significant. A related goal is to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in game development and computer science. The current game development workforce comprises less than 11 percent women and 4.5 percent African Americans and Latin Americans.5 Games have a significant impact on our younger generations, yet they are being created by a predominantly white male workforce. We believe that a focus on humane gaming in college programs could help to attract more women and underrepresented minorities to the field, thus giving these populations more of a voice in shaping this important industry. Figure 1. Crosser,5 an example of a socially conscious game, deals with border immigration issues, raising awareness of the situation through Finally, our program aims to direct this game play. newly developing academic field toward benevolent applications in what we call humane gaming. We envision humane gaming to conter. The goal of these games is to raise social awaresist of three components: ness or advocate for a cause.6 Examples include Crosser, Steer Madness,, Maria • Educational games. Educational games, interactive Sisters, Peacemaker, Rethinking Wargames Activate!, simulations, and training tools are applicable to and Escape from Woomera. As an example, Crosser, almost every field and academic discipline. Creating shown in Figure 1, deals with border immigration these games requires significant computer science issues, raising awareness of the situation through and design experience as well as domain knowledge. game play. In addition to using educational games to teach domain knowledge, the process of creating games can be used to teach mathematics, computer science, s academics participating in the birth of a new disphysics, art, and literacy in an integrated fashion. cipline that has significant social impact, we have We are working with the DU School of Education a stewardship responsibility and an opportunity to to build a computer science, mathematics, and game explore benevolent game applications as well as to make certification program for high school teachers. game development more inclusive of women and under• Medical games. Games are being used in medicine represented populations. ■ for mitigating pain, to promote exercise, to reduce stress, to rehabilitate patients with damaged cognitive abilities, and to help children feel empowered to References recover from chronic illnesses such as cancer. 1. L. Werner et al., “Want to Increase Retention of Your Female Although many of these applications require medStudents?” Computing Research News, vol. 17, no. 2, 2005; ical domain expertise, we will expose students to these game applications and advise them about 2. C. Crawford, Chris Crawford on Game Design, New Riders graduate degrees in medicine, psychology, and cogGames, 2003. nitive science. 3. K. Salen and E. Zimmerman, Rules of Play: Game Design • Socially conscious games. Undergraduate students in Fundamentals, MIT Press, 2003. our programs will be able to participate in creating 4. O. Johnston and F. Thomas, The Illusion of Life: Disney Anisocially conscious games starting from the first quarmation, Disney Editions, 1995.


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5. A. Gourdin, “Game Developer Demographics: An Exploration of Workforce Diversity,” Oct. 2005; diversity/IGDA_DeveloperDemographics_Oct05.pdf. 6. R. Fajardo, “Pixels, Politics and Play: Digital Video Games as Social Commentary,” Intelligent Agent, vol. 3, no. 2, 2003; html.

Lawrence Argent is a professor at the University of Denver. His research interests focus on ideological exploration involving aspects of technology’s translation of imagery/ form and the acceptance and assumptive cognition of such information/abstraction as a new reality. Argent received an MFA in sculpture from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute, College of Art. Contact him at [email protected]; Bill Depper is an assistant professor at the University of Denver. His research interests include animation and game development. He received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa. Contact him at [email protected]. Rafael Fajardo is an associate professor at the University of Denver. His research interests include the expressive potential of video games, especially their ability to work as cultural commentary. Fajardo received an MFA in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Contact him at [email protected].

Sarah Gjertson is an assistant professor at the University of Denver. Her research interests and studio work explore nostalgia, issues surrounding social and personal comfort, and consumption within American popular culture. She received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Contact her at [email protected]. Scott T. Leutenegger is a professor and founder and director of the Game Development Program at the University of Denver. His research interests include spatial databases, humane gaming, and computer science education. Leutenegger received a PhD in computer science from the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of the ACM and the IEEE. Contact him at [email protected]; Mario A. Lopez is a professor of computer science at the University of Denver. His research interests include computational geometry and spatial databases. Lopez received a PhD in computer science from the University of Minnesota. Contact him [email protected]. Jeff Rutenbeck is an associate professor and founder and director of Digital Media Studies at the University of Denver. His research interests include media history, media theory, social implications of emerging technologies, and hypercomplexity. Rutenbeck received a PhD in communication from the University of Washington. He is the founding president and current chairman of the board of the International Digital Media and Arts Association. Contact him at [email protected].

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